Connecting Empathy and Pain in Your Storytelling: Guest Post by Victoria Bardega

Victoria is a freelance editor, photographer and writer. Check out her work here: https://vbardega.com/

As I skim through news headlines and observe the current cultural tensions, I realize empathy has become a foreign characteristic to our social norms. Vulnerability is being avoided rather than embraced; while people are being chained to stereotypes.

In a world of 7.125 billion people, we still feel forgotten, misunderstood or overlooked. One of my favorite literary critics, CS Lewis, said it best: “We read to know we are not alone.” I love this because it highlights a universal problem--people feel alone...all the time. However, the art of storytelling has the power to unify people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. We all have a journey to share; some carry miracles while others carry adversity.

In listening to one another, we invite empathy to impact the way we establish connection. Empathy is a shaping tool within community that breaks barriers, stirs up compassion and signifies a sense of mutual understanding with one another.

In addition to empathy, pain is an uncomfortable emotion to unpack; but it requires to be felt. What should we do when we’re faced with the demand to embrace our feelings as creatives? Let it out. Cry. Laugh. Craft something tangible for your soul to release the story into. Creativity stems out of a place of freedom.

It’s so easy to throw our feelings into a box and shove them away into the attic of our minds.

But once we bring our walls down and let people in, we are able to impact more and produce more good for the community. There is power in identifying with one another. By sharing the remnants of our past or current struggles, others, who may be experiencing a similar journey, are encouraged and empowered to move forward. It needs to take place in order for community-building and innovation to coexist. If you simply say yes to empathy and to pain, there is an audience waiting to hear the words that only you can speak.